How to Apply for a Canada Student Visa

Do you want to complete high school or further your education in Canada? You must acquire a Canadian study permit, which serves as your temporary student visa for the country. Each year, more than 500,000 applicants from all around the world are accepted and given international student visas to study in Canada.

How to Apply for a Canada Student Visa

International students travel from all over the world to study in Canada. Over 130,000 international students opt to study at Canadian universities each year. Canada is appealing to students in addition to being a well-liked tourism destination. It is a well-developed nation with excellent teaching practices and worthwhile degrees.

Canada offers many opportunities, including a top-notch educational system and a dynamic culture. That is why many people want to enroll their children in Canadian primary or secondary schools, while adults also want to start their undergraduate or graduate programs there. But, of course, the students need a study visa and authorization to do this.

Generally, you must apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. However, a study permit application can sometimes be made from within Canada. You can occasionally apply when you arrive in Canada at the port of entry. To give you the best opportunity of acquiring a Canadian study permit, we will cover all you need to know about student visas in Canada in this post.

What is a Canadian Student Visa?

A Canada Student Visa is the visa needed for international students wanting to enroll in a program in Canada. This permit, a type of temporary resident visa (TRV), usually includes the name of the educational institution the student is attending and the course of study they are enrolled in. There is a CAD150 application cost, and it must be for a designated learning institution (DLI).

A Canada Student Visa allows the person who has it to start their studies in Canada. However, the student needs a study permit in addition to the student visa, which is the same as a Canada visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). Thus, the Canadian student visa combines an eTA and a study permit with a visitor visa.


The study permit grants legal authorization for a person to study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. When applying for a study permit, a foreign national should be aware that eligibility requirements must be met when submitting the study permit application. In addition, certain conditions must also be met throughout the student’s time in Canada. They are as follows:

  • Continuously be enrolled in a DLI. DLIs are schools or universities approved by the provincial or territorial government to allow them to host international students. You can follow this link to check if a university is a DLI.
  • Be working on completing your study program.
  • Meet the requirements of the student visa.
  • Stop studying if you do not meet the requirements of the student visa.
  • Leave Canada immediately once your study permit expires.

However, the study permit will not allow you to get Canadian-issued documents or Canadian government benefits such as health benefits. It will, however, create an easier path for you to apply for Canadian citizenship if that is your goal.

Who Needs a Canadian Student Visa?

Regardless of your country, you will need a visa to attend a Canadian high school, college, or university if you wish to study there. All international students who want to study in Canada and need a visitor visa or an eTA to enter Canada must get a student visa and permit. The permit does not grant you entry into Canada, but when used with an eTA or a tourist visa, it enables you to begin your studies.

However, there are a few exceptions where you may not be required to have a study permit to study in Canada if they, such as:

  • If your study program is less than six months in Canada, you will only need a visitor visa or eTA, but not a study permit on the condition that you complete the program in 6 months or less. However, you will need a study permit if you cannot complete the short program in 6 months.
  • If you’re taking a short self-improvement class or learning about a general interest.
  • Children or family members of the private staff of accredited foreign representatives.

Canadian Student Visa Requirements

You’ll need to get certain documents ready for your visa application. For example, your financial situation will play a significant role in whether or not your study visa is approved. The Canadian government must be able to see you can financially support yourself throughout your studies, whether with savings or through a sponsor such as a parent.

Generally, you’ll need the following to apply for a Canadian Study Permit:

  • Admission letter from a DLI
  • Results from a medical exam and police check
  • Two passport-sized photos of yourself
  • Proof you can financially support yourself throughout your studies
  • You may also need to provide your biometrics. Again, it would be best if you did this at an approved Visa Application Center in your country.

Canadian Student Visa Application Process

You must first apply to a designated learning institute to get a Canadian study permit. After being approved, you can apply for a study permit. You must submit certain supporting documents with your application and adhere to all rules and regulations established by the Canadian government. The entire procedure for applying for a Canadian student visa is detailed here.

1. Get an admission letter from a designated learning institution (DLI)

To start, you must apply to a Canadian university authorized by the relevant province or territory government and receive an acceptance letter. Before you can begin the application process for a student visa to Canada, you must decide where you want to study there. You’ll receive an acceptance letter after being admitted to a Canadian university, which you’ll need for the visa application. Then, determine if you require a Canadian student visa. To find out if you require a study visa or permit, utilize the official Canadian study permit tool.

2. Apply for the permit online or download an application package

As soon as you get the acceptance letter from the university, it is time to proceed to the next step: applying for a student visa, which is locally known as a study permit. First, you must apply for a study permit online, whether outside Canada or currently within. If you have a disability that prohibits you from applying online or if you have a valid identity or travel document for a refugee, stateless person, or non-citizen resident, you may only apply on paper.

Meanwhile, you will have to apply online for your Canadian student visa on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website before you arrive in Canada. Send the visa application documents by post if you have a limited internet connection or cannot submit the documents online. 

3. Pay the fee for your application and keep the receipt

Ensure you have all the documentation needed for your nation, including evidence that you have paid the study permit fee (150 CAD). Immigration officers reserve the right to refuse study permits if they feel an applicant has not met all requirements. Therefore, it is valuable to have a qualified immigration representative review your application before submission.

4. Have a medical check-up from a panel physician registered in your country

You might need to visit a visa application center in your country to get your biometrics taken, depending on your nationality. The cost for biometrics is 85 CAD. This fee is in addition to the regular visa application fee (150 CAD). The residents of several nations are excluded from this biometrics requirement; thus, they won’t have to go to an application facility.

Depending on your situation, you might also be called for an interview. Local visa application centers will charge a small fee for using their services.

5. Receive a decision on your application

After applying for your Canadian study permit, the processing time may take up to 90 days, but it’s usually faster. This also depends on the situation in your home country. Come to Canada if your study permit is approved! Please be aware that you will not be issued a study permit for Canada until you reach a Canadian Port of Entry (POE). The Canadian government will give you a Port of Entry Introduction Letter if your permit is accepted. You must keep this letter and show it to the immigration official to obtain your study permit when you arrive in Canada.

Student Direct Stream

Furthermore, residents of some countries may apply through the Student Direct Stream to get their permits faster. Fees start at 150 CAD and the processing time is usually around 20 calendar days. 


You can apply via the Student Direct Stream if you are a legal resident in one of these countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • the Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam

Canadian visas for student dependents

During your studies, your spouse or child under 18 can also apply for a visa if they need to accompany you. Your spouse can apply for an Open Work Permit, valid for the same period as your study program. It does not require them to have a job before arriving in Canada; it simply allows them to work while they are there. If you have a child joining you during your studies in Canada, as long as you have proof of your study permit and study program, the child may enter Canada as a visitor while you are studying in Canada.

How long is the Canadian Student Visa valid?

Generally, you can stay in Canada for your study permit. You can see when your permission expires by looking at it. You can ask for an extension in particular circumstances. Only the duration of the study program and an additional 90 days are covered by the validity of a student visa for Canada. You can use these 90 days to prepare to leave Canada or submit an application to renew your study visa. Therefore, you will need to extend your study permit if you do not finish your program within the term that it is valid. You will only get an additional 90 days if you complete the program before the study permit expires, after which you must leave Canada.

You must provide proof that you have completed your program by submitting the notification of graduation from your schools, such as an email, a letter, or another document, or submit a copy of your degree, diploma, or certificate. When one of these was issued will be used as the date you completed your program, and then your additional 90 days for preparation to leave Canada will begin.

Working While You Study in Canada

Suppose you’d like a part-time job to help support yourself while studying in Canada. In that case, you can now qualify to work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours during university semesters and full-time during breaks such as the winter or summer holidays without needing a work permit.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Be a full-time student
  • Be enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level.
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational, or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate that is at least six months in duration.
  • You will also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada to work in Canada or receive government programs’ benefits and services.

However, you may want to keep working in Canada after your education. You’ll need to acquire a post-graduation work permit if you want to stay in Canada after your studies and seek work. This is valid for three years. When you have a student visa, it is easier to get a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP), depending on the length of your study program.

Final Thoughts

Studying in Canada as an international student might be challenging and confusing. Applications for permits to enroll in numerous colleges and programs are frequently rejected because they don’t adhere to legal standards. But it may be made easy with the help of this manual and other web resources. You may also visit the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship Commission’s official website for more comprehensive information.

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